Creating and converting leads through content marketing

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Content marketing is the darling of the marketing world at the moment because it has such power when it comes to engaging audiences while creating and converting leads that bring in recurring revenues.

Combined with an overall marketing plan that includes other traditional marketing efforts, content marketing has proven to be an effective tool. Creating and converting leads through content marketing, though, involves using a slightly different formula than companies may use with other marketing strategies.

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Creating and converting leads through content marketing

  1. 1. Creating andConverting LeadsThrough ContentMarketingCreating andConverting LeadsThrough ContentMarketing
  2. 2. Content  marketing  is  the  darling  of  the  marketing  world  at  the  moment  because  it  has  such  power  when  it  comes  to  engaging  audiences  while  creating  and  converting  leads  that  bring  in  recurring  revenues.    Combined  with  an  overall  marketing  plan  that  includes  other  traditional  marketing  efforts,  content  marketing  has  proven  to  be  an  effective  tool.  Creating  and  converting  leads  through  content  marketing,  though,  involves  using  a  slightly  different  formula  than  companies  may  use  with  other  marketing  strategies.    The  Need  for  Information,  Not  Elaborate  Promotion      People  want  valuable  information.  Major  search  engines,  such  as  Google  and  Bing  give  high  ranks  to  web  pages  with  great  content.  Content  is  the  perfect  word-­‐of-­‐mouth  advertisement..  The  need  for  relevant  information  cuts  across  all  consumer  demographic  profiles  and  takes  into  account  the  changing  buying  behaviors  of  consumers.    Why  would  the  major  global  brands  such  as  Coca-­‐Cola  and  Procter  &  Gamble  ever  bother  to  use  content  to  further  promote  their  brands,  even  with  unlimited  advertising  resources  at  their  disposal?    Coca-­‐Cola’s  recently  launched  Content  2020  is  a  monumental  shift  in  advertising  approach  and  recognizes  that  consumers  trust  editorial  more  than  mass-­‐media  advertisement.  In  the  past,  a  company’s  marketing  goal  was  to  provide  information  that  the  company  thought  consumers  should  know.  As  it  rethinks  its  marketing  strategy,  Coke  is  leveraging  its  content  excellence  campaign  to  educate  and  entertain  consumers  to  the  point  of  making  them  feel  connected  to  the  brand  and  sharing  this  with  others.    Similarly,  Procter  &  Gamble’s  Man  of  the  House,  pitched  in  early  2011,  is  a  content  website  catering  to  a  new  audience:  “the  new  breed  of  man  who  participated  more  heavily  in  housework  and  child-­‐rearing  across  the  board,  often  while  his  wife  went  to  work,”  according  to  a  Forbes  magazine  analysis  of  the  campaign.  The  site  provides  tips  on  parenting,  cooking,  budgeting,  etc.  This  strategy  is  geared  toward  promoting  P&G’s  Head  and  Shoulders  shampoo  and  Gillette  razors.    An  established  specialty  coffee  roaster,  Ozone  Coffee  Roasters,  has  become  known  for  its  targeted  content  marketing.    Because  they  say  they  want  every  coffee  enthusiast  to  feel  special,  they  segment  customers  and  provide  specialized  content.    These  success  stories  prove  that  this  21st-­‐century  version  of  advertising  gives  great  focus  to  the  informational,  rather  than  the  promotional.  Considered  by  many  as  the  new  advertising,  content  marketing  has  gone  mainstream  as  marketers  veer  away  from  the  traditional  to  take  on  the  changing  realities  of  engaging  socially  empowered  and  networked  consumers.    
  3. 3. Content  Marketing  Defined  Simply  put,  content  marketing  is  creating  and  distributing  uniquely  appropriate  web  content  for  the  purpose  of  marketing  a  product  or  service  or  promoting  a  brand.  Its  goal  is  to  attract  potential  customers,  build  meaningful  relationships,  create  leads  and  convert  those  leads  into  paying  customers.  It  typically  involves  writing  compelling  copy  or  creating  an  engaging  video  feed  in  relation  to  the  product,  service  or  brand  being  promoted.  It  comes  in  various  forms  to  include  the  following:  Articles      Whether  published  online  or  in  print,  it  is  designed  for  leisurely  reading  because  it  needs  in-­‐depth  analysis  for  better  understanding.  It  may  include  a  call  to  action  (CTA)  button  that  leads  to  a  link  to  a  landing  page  or  a  request  for  feedback  or  reaction  in  a  comment  section  provided  for  the  purpose.    Blogs    A  blog  post  is  a  short  piece  of  writing  delivered  in  a  conversational  style  for  the  purpose  of  informing,  updating,  entertaining,  or  sparking  interest  in  an  idea.  It  tackles  a  short  topic  meant  to  be  read  immediately.  It  is  more  succinct  than  an  article  in  that  the  main  idea  is  introduced  early  on  in  the  headline  and  the  first  paragraph.  Like  an  article,  it  may  include  a  CTA  or  request  some  form  of  reaction  from  the  reader.  White  Papers    A  white  paper  is  an  authoritative  guide  or  report  that  offers  readers  a  clearer  understanding  of  an  issue,  a  solution  to  a  problem  or  an  enlightened  decision  making  benchmark  relevant  to  a  product  or  service.  It  can  be  downloaded  free  of  charge  in  exchange  for  the  basic  contact  information  of  the  reader.  This  contact  information  can  then  become  the  start  of  a  new  lead  for  eventual  conversion.  Free  e-­‐books    An  e-­‐book  generally  longer  than  a  white  paper  and  can  be  accessed  through  a  free  download  that  requires  the  reader’s  basic  information.    Videos    Pure  text  can  only  convey  so  much.      Knowledge-­‐Base  Articles    A  knowledge  base  is  a  compilation  of  articles,  user  manuals,  frequently  asked  questions  on  certain  subjects,  white  papers  and  other  authoritative  written  work  that  use  a  
  4. 4. problem-­‐solution  approach  about  a  specific  topic  of  interest.  Authored  by  experts  and  thought  leaders,  these  written  pieces  are  created  and  stored  in  a  database  where  people  in  an  organization  can  search,  utilize  or  share.  They  are  also  accessible  to  customers  who  can  get  quick  answers  without  using  the  services  of  a  customer-­‐service  representative.  Webinars    A  webinar  is  a  web  version  of  a  seminar  or  virtual  web  conferencing.  Using  video  and  often  accompanied  by  a  slide  presentation,  one  or  more  speakers  delve  into  a  specific  topic  in  real  time  and  allow  viewer  interaction  through  questions.  A  webinar  can  be  set  up  for  a  handful  of  participants  or  can  be  arranged  to  accommodate  thousands  of  attendees.    Other  types  of  content  that  help  drive  traffic  are  case  studies,  emails,  press  releases,  RSS  feed,  resource  libraries,  brochures,  manuals,  information  guides  and  reference  guides.  The  key  to  content  that  sells  and  builds  audiences  is  to  maintain  its  quality  and  quantity  as  well  as  consistency  of  publication.  No  single  marketer  has  the  monopoly  of  ideas  as  the  Internet  allows  for  unlimited  sharing.  However,  similar,  related  or  even  old  content  can  be  reorganized,  restructured,  repurposed,  rewritten  or  updated  to  create  an  entirely  new  content.    A  Holistic  Content  Marketing  Strategy  Creating  content  simply  because  it  is  the  trend  is  a  costly  mistake.  Before  embarking  on  a  content-­‐marketing  campaign,  determine  the  message  you  want  to  convey  to  your  target  audience.  Make  an  honest  assessment  of  the  knowledge  you  possess  to  bring  that  message  across,  maintaining  focus  on  your  core  business,  product  or  brand.  Any  blog  posts,  white  papers  or  video  presentations  should  gravitate  around  the  company  business,  avoiding  any  direct  selling  attempts  or  overt  sales  pitches.  Remember  that  content  creation  aims  to  build  image  and  establish  thought  leadership  so  that  prospective  customers  will  trust  you  enough  to  like  and  buy  your  brand.    Delivering  the  right  message  to  the  right  audience  is  key  to  achieving  a  strategic  content  marketing  drive.  It  is  far  more  productive  to  target  a  specific  audience  with  a  single  well-­‐crafted  message  than  deploy  a  generic  message  across  the  board.  For  instance,  an  oral  surgeon  will  have  more  success  posting  a  blog  on  oral  surgery  than  on  general  dentistry.  Or  a  store  selling  running  shoes  could  turn  into  a  hub  for  fitness  tips  on  running.  Narrowing  your  audience  to  a  particular  group  that  has  a  genuine  need  for  your  expertise  is  a  more  effective  strategy.    Creating  any  content  and  publishing  it  is  not  enough  to  ensure  an  effective  content  marketing  strategy.  Quality,  quantity  and  consistency  are  critical  components  for  that  strategy  to  succeed.  Mediocre  articles  and  videos  can  be  damaging  to  a  brand  because  
  5. 5. they  show  a  lack  of  professionalism.  If  you  lack  the  time  or  skills  in-­‐house,  enlist  the  services  of  a  talented  copywriter  who  can  create  compelling  content.    Content  Deployment  Content  is  mere  content  if  it  does  not  reach  its  intended  audience.  With  hyper-­‐connectivity  happening  on  the  Internet,  the  best  place  to  deploy  content  is  online.  A  good  start  is  your  own  company  website  with  a  few  article  and  video  postings  while  building  a  steady  stream.  Guest  blogging  on  other  reputable  websites  is  another  option  that  can  trigger  traffic  and  generate  leads.    Submitting  quality  content  to  article  directories  is  also  a  great  way  to  be  found.  With  the  proper  SEO  techniques,  link  building  is  enhanced  and  traffic  volume  for  your  website  is  increased.  This,  in  turn,  translates  to  more  leads  and  sales  conversions.    Social  media  is  a  leading  contender  for  attracting  consumer  attention.  It  is  a  popular  content  sharing  site  because  of  the  massive  number  of  social  media  users.  As  contrasted  to  traditional  media  addressing  millions  of  untargeted  people,  personal  interaction  and  specificity  are  staples  at  social  media  networks,  making  it  easier  for  targeting  to  happen.  Measuring  the  effectiveness  of  messaging  at  social  media  can  be  achieved  almost  instantaneously,  allowing  content  marketers  to  immediately  follow  through  and  nurture  sales  leads  for  eventual  conversion.    Although  they  are  themselves  types  of  content,  press  releases,  newsletters,  editorial  calendars,  white  papers,  webinars  and  e-­‐mail  marketing  have  interlocking  functions  serving  as  distribution  channels  of  content.  For  example,  an  editorial  calendar  may  deploy  the  holding  of  a  future  webinar,  conference  or  job  fair.  Developing  and  publishing  write-­‐ups  that  are  complementary  to  these  events  a  few  months  before  they  actually  happen  are  strategic  ways  of  increasing  traffic  and  generating  sales  leads  that  can  become  potential  conversions.    How  Compelling  Content  Benefits  Businesses    More  than  producing  links,  a  powerful  content  marketing  strategy  builds  long-­‐term  relationships  with  valued  customers  and  advocates.  These  influential  few  are  sure  to  be  walking  advertisers  for  your  brand  as  they  bring  in  more  links,  exposure,  sales  leads  and  conversions.  Keep  in  mind  the  following  benefits  to  craft  the  perfect  content-­‐marketing  strategy:    Compelling  content  establishes  trust.      
  6. 6. When  prospective  customers  experience  a  continuous  supply  of  valuable  content,  they  will  keep  coming  back  for  more.  They  will  tend  to  look  at  the  content  provider  as  a  thought  leader  whom  they  trust  to  be  able  to  answer  future  questions,  not  just  someone  selling  something  to  them.  As  a  result  of  this  trust,  they  not  only  convert,  but  also  become  repeat  customers.    Great  content  enhances  web  presence.      In  the  digital  world,  SEO  is  a  way  of  life.  An  optimized  web  page  with  an  optimized  content  generates  high  traffic  volumes,  is  a  good  candidate  for  high  page  ranking  and  is  likely  to  be  more  easily  found  by  searchers.  Although  in  the  process  of  transforming  to  a  new  paradigm  to  meet  the  evolving  requirements  of  major  search  engine  algorithms,  SEO  is  still  the  great  determinant  of  the  search  engine  results  page  (SERP)  ranking  of  websites  and  web  pages.  A  higher  ranking  means  more  traffic  and  more  traffic  means  more  sales  leads  and  more  conversions.      Good  content  helps  boost  company  and  employee  morale.      Good  content  is  good  news  for  the  company  and  a  morale  booster  for  employees.  What  does  this  have  to  do  with  sales  leads  and  conversion?  Satisfied  employees  are  better  able  to  deliver  excellent  customer  service,  a  big  factor  that  helps  turn  leads  into  conversions.    Engaging  content  initiates  immediate  conversion  opportunities.      While  delivering  a  positive  write-­‐up  of  your  brand,  content  creation  can  increase  lead  flow  and  sales  conversions.  With  every  piece  of  content,  always  make  it  a  point  to  present  an  opportunity  for  prospects  to  connect  with  your  brand  by  requiring  them  to  sign  up  when  subscribing  to  RSS  feed,  white  paper  or  other  downloadable  materials.  You  may  also  include  a  call  to  action  (CTA)  at  the  end  of  a  blog,  video  or  infographics.    Content  sharing  encourages  the  socialization  of  big  audiences.      A  fast  and  easy  way  of  connecting  and  converting  leads  is  through  social  media,  because  of  its  personalized  and  segmented  format.  While  sharing  content  to  a  wide  network,  socially  savvy  content  marketers  are  allowed  some  flexibility  to  modify,  filter  and  customize  content  to  meet  the  requirements  of  smaller  segments  and  communities  who  may  not  have  been  at  first  thought  to  be  part  of  the  targeted  audience.  Repeated  sharing  helps  solidify  credibility  and  increase  potential  business  value.  Remember  to  use  the  appropriate  social  buttons,  create  enticing  titles  and  include  attention-­‐grabbing  graphics.    
  7. 7.    The  Future  of  Content  Marketing  The  last  two  years  saw  a  dramatic  surge  in  the  popularity  of  content  marketing.  Many  content  advocates  paint  a  bright  future  for  content  marketing  for  both  the  B2B  and  B2C  sectors,  as  it  emerges  as  an  integral  component  of  the  overall  marketing  strategies  of  businesses,  big  or  small.  A  recent  infographic  from  Pardot  that  analyzes  the  metrics  of  content  marketing  says  that  an  incredible  90  percent  of  in-­‐house  marketers  surveyed  believe  that  content  will  become  even  more  important.  Ironically,  62  percent  claim  that  they  have  no  content  marketing  strategy  in  place.    Another  study  conducted  by  the  Content  Marketing  Institute  (CMI)  and  MarketingProfs  echoes  the  pervasiveness  and  growing  importance  of  content  marketing  in  the  marketing  mix,  with  social  media  being  a  popular  channel.  As  marketers  intensify  their  efforts  and  solidify  their  positions,  they  face  the  new  challenge  of  requesting  more  marketing  dollars,  staff  and  support  tools  from  their  CFOs.    There  is  indeed  an  overwhelming  clamor  for  the  use  of  content  marketing.  However,  since  it  is  a  baby  among  a  long  list  of  marketing  tools  already  in  place,  growing  pains  will  come  along  the  way  as  processes,  techniques  and  applicable  preferences  will  need  to  be  tried,  tested  and  perfected.  Others  assert  that  the  future  of  content  marketing  is  in  visuals  like  videos,  photos  and  infographics.  Whatever  happens,  content  in  all  its  forms,  will  continue  to  dominate  the  marketing  equation.      WAS THIS HELPFUL? SHARE OR CONNECT WITH US ONLINE!http://digitalsherpa.com/bloghttp://facebook.com/digitalsherpashttp://twitter.com/digitalsherpashttp://linkedin.com/company/digital-sherpahttp://youtube.com/digitalsherpas    

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